Taiwan: Violence In The Legislature And ECFA (Again)

During the last few days, some news came on a regular basis:

  1. Violence among legislators (Legislative Yuan)
  2. The idea that signing an EFCA with China is the only hope for Taiwan and it will allow Taiwan to sign FTA with other countries with China blessing it
  3. Increase the professor’s salary in Taiwanese Universities as a mean to improve the status of academic institutions

I will give today my one cent comments about the former two points and let the latter to a future post.

So, there is too much violence in the Legislature…

Obviously, no one can oppose to that fact. For foreigners living in Taiwan, it is always a strange, ridiculous, funny (?) and dangerous show to see legislators insulting each others and fistfights on a regular basis.

What’s an example about Democracy which people are supposed to develop and cherish.

When fistfights replace ideas…

As a remedy, the new appointed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung is in favor to the assignment of a sergeant-at-arms to the legislature (and it) would be in keeping with a practice in western countries that effectively helps to enhance democracy (HERE and HERE).


An armed-man inside the legislature to avoid clashes…

So, what is he supposed to do? Fire on the bad legislators to bring back calm and peace?

Are you serious?

Beside, create a low enforcement system as suggested by the KMT is a way to belittle the Legislature’s autonomy.

One more way for the party to totally control everything?


Moreover, the KMT Secretary King said:


the assignment of a sergeant-at-arms to the legislature would be in keeping with a practice in western countries that effectively helps to enhance democracy


That is not only very strange to say that, but it is also not accurate.

Let’s take the example of France (but it is very similar in all democratic countries). If you go to the French Legislature Website (HERE – in French but Google can easily translate it) we can see that yes, there are military, police and firefighters staff inside the buildings.

But let’s be more precise:

  1. The President of the Legislature is the ONLY responsible of the security inside the buildings and only him can decide. Not the main political party or the government.
  2. The forces are only there to protect the Legislature from people coming from outside to interrupt sessions or to launch attacks.

In no ways those forces are there to separate legislators in case of clashes.

And the autonomy of the Institution is totally preserved.

I totally condemn violence whoever started it, minority or main party. It is totally unacceptable.

But what if it is the only one way to bring public attention to an unacceptable proposed bill which could put down the spirit of democracy (as said by some)? I don’t know. It’s a very complicate and sensitive question especially if people are normally in favor of democracy and against any form of violence, which is deeply my case.

Beside, according the news, it doesn’t seem that the DPP (minority) is more violent than KMT. There are more news about KMT elected convicted for vote buying or linked to the mafia. And recently, a KMT candidate who lost the election came with a gun to the headquarter of his opponent (who won the election). There are so many examples from the newspapers but it is not the point here.

Anyway, a cartoon from the Taipei Times (April 26 2009) is quite representative of what, according the news, the opposition thinks:

Let’s go back to what the new appointed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung said:


In a democratic society, the minority should abide by the majority. Legislators from the opposition parties should not occupy the podium even if negotiations break down


Oh, there were negotiations?

The controversial bills were voted during the clash according the news.

Minority should abide by the majority?

I thought minority should abide by the law (as the majority…).

Laws govern a country. Not the majority.

Yes, I know what you will say: laws are voted by the majority.

Right, but there is still a subtle nuance worthy to note.

Beside, I am not sure that the fact that there are main and minority parties is an evidence that a clean democracy exists.

Even in western countries such as France and USA we may have a lot of questions.


  • when most of the media are controlled by one party,
  • when the election system does not give the merited weight to all political parties,
  • when the president of the country is also the chairman of the main party,
  • when people don’t know if the president is “on the road” as the president of all people or as the chairman of the party,
  • when the party has a great influence on the government and judicial system,
  • when people are not any more sure that Justice is independent
  • when the party is in charge of international negotiations and not the government
  • when the legislature has no idea of the content of the negotiations
  • when etc…

What do people get? Democracy? I am not sure.

See for example, Venezuela, Russia and… You know 🙂

Last Sunday, Taipei Times published an interview its reporters made with the Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou (HERE).

Here are some excerpts:


Take the amendment to the Local Government Act as an example. I have no control over who wins the special municipality elections. I want to give the country a stronger competitive edge by remapping the districts. I am doing this for the country and the people, not for a party


I thought the biggest problem about the bill was about the appointment of local district chiefs who are already in post, without letting the possibility to the new elected mayor(s) to chose his/her staff.

I also understood from the news that most of those chiefs are from the KMT.



We will present a report to the legislature after holding formal negotiations with mainland China, and will also explain the matter to the public, so that people will understand what ECFA is


Why not let the public and legislature know what is going on about the negotiations before they are done?

You can also notice that he used the term “mainland China”.


So when we sign FTAs, we can do it with our major trading partners, such as mainland China, Japan, the US, ASEAN countries, the European Union, South Korea and Singapore.

Mainland China has signed more than 10 FTAs. Once we ink an ECFA with the mainland, ASEAN countries will not reject the idea of talking with us

If we sign an ECFA with mainland China, the pressure and obstruction to our effort to sign FTAs with other countries will be reduced


Can you really believe that after signing an ECFA, China will let Taiwan signs FTA with other countries?

Can you believe it when the only goal of China is to take Taiwan?

Can you believe it when China said recently that it opposes any official contacts between countries and Taiwan?

You can read this article (see the above link). The end is also very interesting, especially about the influence the KMT general secretary has on the government and public institutions (EPA).

The final answer of the president about it is:

There’s nothing wrong with the procedure

Obviously, nothing can be done about the ECFA. It will be signed.

But about violence, I do not believe that proposing means to fight against violence when it is erupting, is a solution. It is like fighting against temperature by breaking the thermometer. We don’t see anymore the fever but it is still there.

What people have to do is fighting against what may create violence.

People should cherish talks, ideas and negotiations. Not fistfights.

People from the majority but also from the minority.



Mots clés Technorati : ,,

2 Responses

  1. As I am sure you are aware, Wang Yi of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office effectively pooh-pooed the idea of Taiwan signing FTAs this week.


  2. Thanks Tommy for your comment. Yes, I noticed it and even put on my Twitter to ask if people were dreaming or misleading…

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